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Sentence well below CPS recommendation for 'low-level' offence...

Victoria McClure, the driver who struck and killed cyclist Anthony Hilson while adjusting her satellite navigation system, has been sentenced to 18 months in jail, but will serve only half that time.

Ms McClure was found guilty in July of causing death by dangerous driving, although she had only pleaded guilty to the less serious charge of causing death by careless driving.

Anthony Hilson was out for a Sunday morning ride on September 9th 2012 when he was hit from behind by Ms McClure on the A4 Bath Road in Twyford, Berkshire.

It was a straight stretch of road and visibility was good, but Ms McClure was adjusting the zoom function on her sat nav. Prosecutors estimated that Mr Hilson would have been in Ms McClure's field of view for at least 18 seconds before the collision.

Passing sentence at Reading Crown Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Wood told Ms McClure that she should have seen Anthony Hilson.

He said: "No sentence I pass will equate to the loss of life and the loss to family and friends.

"You could and should have seen him, he lost his life, a wife lost a husband, children lost a father, they will all have to live with your actions for the rest of their lives, as do you."

Saying he was taking into account her genuine remorse at the time of the crash and the effect on her two children, Justice Wood sentenced McClure to 18 months in jail, but said she would only serve half that period. She was also banned from driving for two and a half years.

Speaking at the time of the verdict, Mr Hilson’s widow Maxine said: “Tony’s never coming home. The girls have still got to grow up without their dad and if there is a lesson to be learned it’s that if you are playing with a sat nav system do it when you’re stationary.”

Rhia Weston, road safety officer with the CTC says that in cases such as this one and that of  Steve Conlan who killed a cyclist when he failed to see a stop sign, the CPS is often not following its own guidelines in selecting an offence to prosecute, and judges are not following sentencing guidelines.

“The sentence McClure received was below the starting point for this type of offence (2-5 years for a ‘low level’ offence) as stated in the sentencing guidelines,” writes Ms Weston.

However, CTC policy is that custodial sentences should be reserved for aggravated and repeat offences. In this case, “CTC would have preferred to see a much longer driving ban,” she writes.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

28 comments

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 2 years ago
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Yet again we are here, a cyclist killed and the 'murderer' only gets nine months in prison and a 30 month ban.

Just pathetic, truly unjustified ...

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benb [79 posts] 2 years ago
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In my view there should be a mandatory lifetime ban for someone who kills behind the wheel and it was their fault, as in this case.

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Angelfishsolo [132 posts] 2 years ago
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benb wrote:

In my view there should be a mandatory lifetime ban for someone who kills behind the wheel and it was their fault, as in this case.

Amen.

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badkneestom [135 posts] 2 years ago
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Driving is a privilege, not a right.

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KiwiMike [1186 posts] 2 years ago
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Lifetime ban. No question.

Also, the offender should have to pay the £50k/year or whatever for cost of incarceration to a road charity.

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Mostyn [396 posts] 2 years ago
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9, Months - yet another lenient sentence! Should have been a lot more.

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pmanc [203 posts] 2 years ago
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Tragically these kind of stories seem to be two-a-penny at the moment.

Here's another new one.
In this case it appears the porsche driver overtook the cyclist and then tried to turn sharply in front of her, and clipped her. The cyclist - a 77 year old woman - came off and was killed. The porsche driver didn't even realise she'd hit anyone and was later spared jail. She got a two year ban.

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mrmo [2070 posts] 2 years ago
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18 month sentance and the guideance is 2years minimum?

So what is the judges reasoning for breaking the guidelines then!!!!!!

As for the driving ban, no second chances, you can't be trusted to drive, life ban!

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pwake [374 posts] 2 years ago
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Angelfishsolo wrote:
benb wrote:

In my view there should be a mandatory lifetime ban for someone who kills behind the wheel and it was their fault, as in this case.

Amen.

Agreed. I think the CTC view is eminently sensible. In a case like this, and particularly as it seems the offender has children herself, I don't really see any positive difference that a longer custodial sentence would make. However, a lifetime ban removes the danger that this person poses to society for good and I bet if you asked most people which they would rather take; a jail term or life driving ban, there wouldn't be many takers for the ban.

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alexholt3 [53 posts] 2 years ago
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You'd have thought that having the fact you've killed someone on your conscience for the rest of your life would be enough of a punishment...

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notfastenough [3674 posts] 2 years ago
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pmanc wrote:

Tragically these kind of stories seem to be two-a-penny at the moment.

Here's another new one.
In this case it appears the porsche driver overtook the cyclist and then tried to turn sharply in front of her, and clipped her. The cyclist - a 77 year old woman - came off and was killed. The porsche driver didn't even realise she'd hit anyone and was later spared jail. She got a two year ban.

That is shocking. I use that road regularly - since no-one in their right mind would ride on the nearby A34 - and it had ocurred to me that with the Porsche and Ferrari dealerships on that same spot, the risk of people hooning around in fast cars is sizeable, but also, visibility is excellent - really no excuse for this. Presumably she thought the 'old lady on a bike' would be very slow, but anyone would pick up speed on that downhill.

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alexholt3 [53 posts] 2 years ago
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KiwiMike wrote:

Lifetime ban. No question.

Also, the offender should have to pay the £50k/year or whatever for cost of incarceration to a road charity.

Where do you propose someone obtains £50,000 a year? How utterly ridiculous. People make mistakes.

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kie7077 [874 posts] 2 years ago
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18 months is not so bad considering it was an accident and it's a jail sentence unlike most of the sentences we've been seeing. Good point though about the judge not following guidelines and issuing a 2 year sentance. How many judges are there in britain? It might be an idea to lobby them and the CPS.

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 2 years ago
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KiwiMike wrote:

Lifetime ban. No question.

Also, the offender should have to pay the £50k/year or whatever for cost of incarceration to a road charity.

A really good point. Why should the state pay a large sum to send this person to jail? Fear of incarceration is clearly not motivating people to drive corects. So let's try fear of a lifetime driving ban and a devastating hit to the pocket book

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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She was a dinner lady at my old primary school - the old lady i mean, not the gormless cow in the Porsche that killed her.
Cheshire is full of stupid rich bints in Porsches, Audis and Range Rovers - in big sunglasses and they dont give a f**k about cyclists.
I am sure that when i inevitably do die on my bike it will be at the hands of some stupid WAG in an Audi Q8 or a Porsche Cayenne

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notfastenough [3674 posts] 2 years ago
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jarredscycling wrote:
KiwiMike wrote:

Lifetime ban. No question.

Also, the offender should have to pay the £50k/year or whatever for cost of incarceration to a road charity.

A really good point. Why should the state pay a large sum to send this person to jail? Fear of incarceration is clearly not motivating people to drive corects. So let's try fear of a lifetime driving ban and a devastating hit to the pocket book

Because unless they can earn £50k a year *while in jail*, then this would bankrupt them, and in turn probably force the convicts' family out of their home. Thus, we would be regressing to medieval times and punishing the family of the offender.

(I believe it's difficult enough as it is - breadwinner goes inside, and the remaining innocent people are left scrabbling around to cover the monthly bills without the accustomed income)

The state (and therefore we) pay this sum to send people to jail because that is a cost that a society accepts in order to maintain law and order.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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Some Fella wrote:

She was a dinner lady at my old primary school - the old lady i mean, not the gormless cow in the Porsche that killed her.
Cheshire is full of stupid rich bints in Porsches, Audis and Range Rovers - in big sunglasses and they dont give a f**k about cyclists.
I am sure that when i inevitably do die on my bike it will be at the hands of some stupid WAG in an Audi Q8 or a Porsche Cayenne

Somebody, possibly on here, introduced me to the term Cheshire Polar bears - Big white cock-mobiles rampaging round the roads.

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Joselito [160 posts] 2 years ago
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Cheshire Polar Bears...
Sadly, not endangered but likely to endanger others.

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wrevilo [101 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm not sure prison is the right place for those that have accidents that kill. I believe prison should be for criminals who have intent.

A lifetime driving ban, a huge amount of service to the greater community and the guilt that (I imagine) accompanies taking a life would be a more appropriate in my opinion.

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pmanc [203 posts] 2 years ago
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I've seen a couple of instances where the families of the deceased have argued against long jail sentences for the driver. I think to do so has been very considerate of them under the circumstances, but I guess they take the view that it won't bring anyone back, and the incident will be on the conscience of the driver forever anyway.

However, if the driver is shown to be negligent, a lifetime ban seems pretty fair to me.

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racyrich [250 posts] 2 years ago
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No one's forced to drive a vehicle. Signing up to a licence means signing up to being responsible for the lives of everyone you encounter while driving. If they don't like it, don't do it. Otherwise, prison it should be, in the absence of serious punishments.

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A V Lowe [575 posts] 2 years ago
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Lifetime bans make sense. Many people have to live without the ability to drive a car so it is not IMPOSSIBLE to live without one. After all the poor soul who has been killed won't be driving a car again, or providing that service to their family - quid pro quo.

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Alan Tullett [1568 posts] 2 years ago
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Prison sentence and lifetime ban would sound fair to me. Taking your eye off the road for that length of time is criminal behaviour, not an 'accident'. 18 secs is a long time to have your eye off the road. I speak as a driver and cyclist. I wouldn't take my eye off the road for that long in either capacity I hope.

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a.jumper [846 posts] 2 years ago
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Stop the car murders, David Cameron!

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Al__S [1018 posts] 2 years ago
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Like quite few others on here, I'm not so concerned about long prison sentences- I'm really not sure what good they'll do- but bans. Long bans.

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dp24 [201 posts] 2 years ago
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She showed 'genuine remorse'...whilst pleading not guilty.

Agree with the lifetime ban.

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duc888 [39 posts] 2 years ago
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She will be out long before the 9 months are up.

Thats not a sentence, thats a bloody joke.

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Simon E [2682 posts] 2 years ago
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A truly heart-rending interview with Mrs Hilson in the Torygraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10293094/It-took-satnav-18-...

I'm not sure about whether prison is a useful punishment. However, driving bans (far longer than these) should be the minimum; take the killers off the road. And pleading not-guilty, that's the most f***ing outrageous insult!